Music History

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame Now Open at Red Rocks

The Trading Post at Red Rocks Amphitheatre just made room for a lot of history: It's now home to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, which has inducted five classes since it was founded. Its new home, which is presented by Comfort Dental, had its soft opening at Red Rocks last week, and now Colorado's storied musical past is on display for all visitors. 

Though some of the exhibits were featured at the 1STBANK Center, the Hall of Fame seems much more at home at the legendary venue in Morrison. Among the CMHOF treasures is a fourteen-foot-tall statue depicting John Denver hoisting a bald eagle. It was donated to the nonprofit by the Windstar Foundation after thirteen years at a private residence in Aspen, then a year in storage. The statue now stands tall in the garden nestled to the west of the Trading Post.

"It means a lot to a lot of people. We went through a lot of pains to find the right location, even up here," explains CMHOF director G. Brown. "On Wednesday afternoon, we got him out of storage at the 1STBANK Center, and we got a huge crane and put him up Thursday morning." Brown wanted to do an unveiling, but John Denver fans are so die-hard, they camped out in anticipation of the famous statue's resurrection before a ceremony could take place. The CMHOF also commissioned a new bronze bust of John Denver’s head by artist Dawn Record to replace one that was stolen from the 1STBANK Center last year.

"This is the replacement," Brown said. "We found a sculptress, Dawn Record, a very accomplished artist herself, and she is one of the biggest John Denver fans, it turns out. So she did it, and so it's a happy ending. I get a lot of that in this job — just things that make you feel like the universe is lining up. It's fate." 

His Rocky Mountain Highness has ample representation in the Hall of Fame, alongside countless other homegrown talents. Large posters lining the top of the main room include an eclectic range of artists — from Leftover Salmon to Dianne Reeves. TV slideshows of Colorado-bred bands, new and old, span generations and make music accessible to all. The Fray, 3Oh!3 and the Lumineers are represented as a nod to potential future inductees.

Roadie boxes designed to look like touring bands' decked-out equipment work as press-button guides; they will be playing audio recordings of the documentary videos originally shown at each Music Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony. It’s touching to see a home for all of the history that these items contain.
Other notable memorabilia includes original Red Rocks seating, the angelic white dress of Judy Collins and plenty of collectible records, guitars, magazine covers and artifacts proving that Colorado music isn't dusty, but rather a living, breathing entity to be celebrated.

Visitors can enjoy the old-school graphic concert fliers collected over the years and explore the two side rooms that hold information on two more classes of Hall of Famers. While Brown explains that the eventual goal is to build a larger structure to the east of the Trading Post that will house a permanent museum, the current setup places the memorabilia of a lifetime of music tightly next to rows of T-shirts, postcards and Red Rocks magnets. 

Inductees for the 2015 Hall of Fame will be Dan Fogelberg, Joe Walsh and Barnstorm, and Caribou Ranch. The ceremony will take place in early fall, depending on Walsh's schedule and when he can take time off from playing with the Eagles.

Keep reading for more photos of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
Find out more about the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, including how you can donate, here.

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Lindsey Bartlett is a writer, photographer, artist, Denver native and weed-snob. Her work has been published in Vanity Fair, High Times and Leafly, to name a few.
Contact: Lindsey Bartlett